Losing My Religion

I grew up in a strict fundamentalist Baptist home beside a mud-brown river in Elkview, West Virginia. From the door of my house to the front doors of the Baptist church, where my dad preached for thirty-eight years, was a walk of about fifty steps. From the back of the house, once you stepped out of the yard you were standing before the twin metal doors of the pole barn that served as the church gymnasium. Inside were two sets of basketball hoops on padded poles; the 29 floor markings were not those of a basketball court however, but of two AWANA circles. AWANA is a club where children have team competitions on the circle and learn arts and crafts, but that is just a way to get the kids in. The real purpose of AWANA is to make kids memorize Bible verses and imbibe the Absolute Truth they contain.

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Vic Sizemore’s writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in StoryQuarterly, Southern Humanities Review, Portland Review, storySouth, Connecticut Review, Blue Mesa Review, Sou’wester, Reed Magazine, and elsewhere. “It Was Dead When I Got It” is part of his essay collection Get Thee Behind Me. His fiction has won the New Millennium Writings Award and has been nominated for the Best American Nonrequired Reading series and two Pushcart Prizes.

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